Top riding duo pull out

2012-04-21 00:00

HOWICK — The country’s biggest mountain bike festival, the Karkloof Classic, has been rocked by the withdrawal of iconic riders Kevin Evans and David George from tomorrow’s key 60 km marathon race.

The Team 360Life pair were the toast of the domestic MTB scene after a stunning Cape Epic where they slugged it out with eventual winners Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander, and finished second, and the first all SA team home.

However, the two biking stars paid a heavy price for their achievement and both came away from the event with viral infections, aggravated by their extreme state of exhaustion.

“We both went onto antibiotic courses to try and deal with it, but then it went into our chests as well,” said Evans.

“It’s doubly frustrating for me because I had to miss out last year as well when I had a broken shoulder from the Epic,” he lamented. “I just hope for more luck next year.”

Tomorrow’s marathon races through the normally tranquil Sappi forests of the Karkloof will form the final day of SA’s biggest mountain bike festival, raced this year in perfect conditions for the popular network of single track trails.

The event got underway last night with the popular 20-km Peri Night Race that tasks the riders with mastering the single track using headlamps and bike lights.

This was the first of nine events over three days that will entertain around 4 000 riders from across the country.

Today the focus shifts to juniors in the 8,5 km schools lap race shortly after the novel STIHL Karkloof Enduro, which is decided over two 4,5 km timed descents over the 18,5 km course.

The Enduro race, which replaced the cross country race in the event’s popular programme, is widely regarded as a prime test of mountain biking ability and is hugely popular in the U.S.

The Karkloof edition is timed over two descents, the first down into the Karkloof river valley down the Lebanon descent, and the second over a similar distance from Renne’s Rumble the Campbells gate.

Tomorrow sees the cream of the country’s MTB outfits gathered on the start line for the eagerly awaited and much prized Mr Price Karkloof Classic marathon title, which has once again attracted a massive and star-studded entry.

The 60 km title decider is followed by the 40 km aQuellé Half marathon, 20 km fun ride and 10 km kids ride.

Today sees the STIHL Karkloof Enduro and STIHL KZN MTB Schools Lap Race taking place. The Karkloof Classic, 40 km half marathon, 20 km family ride and 10 km kids ride all happen tomorrow. More info can be found at www.kar­kloofmtb.co.za.

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